by guest blogger and PC customer, Carol Myers
Colorful embroidered accessories at market
Perusing the pages of the Peruvian Connection catalog over the years has engendered a lot of daydreaming on my part. For example, I’ve always been curious to meet the people who create the gorgeous knitted items featured in the catalog. Like me, do you wonder about the sources and symbolism that underlie the traditional design motifs? Do you desire first-hand experience of the animals that produce the fibers, of the colors of the landscape, or to breathe the thin air of the High Andean mountain passes? And what if could try your hand at some of the traditional fiber crafts under the expert and patient guidance of native Andean artisans?
Handspinner in Chinchero
Amazingly, it’s possible to do all of the above, as I did during September and October 2011, traveling with Puchka Textile Tours
. These 3-week small group tours include even more than I had previously day-dreamed about, a mix of opportunities specifically tailored to those who appreciate the breadth and depth of the world of textiles, and who wish to learn more about the cultural context, both historic and contemporary, of the fiber arts of Peru.
The tours include museums, markets, three very different cities, a choice of two 4-day workshops in knitting, weaving, hand or machine embroidery techniques, among others. A visit to the fabulous and remote El Refugio Resort
in the Colca Canyon and to the requisite Machu Picchu, as well as an afternoon spent in the alpaca production facilities of Grupo Michell
are also part of the mix. A major highlight of the tour is a leisurely visit with Maximo Laura
, world-recognized tapestry weaver and teacher, at his home and studio in Lima; Maximo and his assistants also conduct the weaving workshop in Arequipa for tour participants. There is plenty of time on the tour to socialize, eat, drink, explore, photograph, and of course SHOP!
Brightly colored yarns for weaving
I’m from a family of three sisters (aka “The Fiber Girls”) as well as a mother, aunts, and grandmothers who were avid, expert, and stylish sewers and knitters. Given that background, the trip was perfect in terms of like-minded traveling companions, people with all kinds of textile and fiber-related experience. As a side benefit, husbands or friends who might not be so fiber-focused are welcomed and accommodated with activities that suit their particular interests.
If you’d like to bring to life your Peruvian Connection daydreams, the Puchka tours are the perfect way to do it!